According to well-known YouTube channel (and occasional GPU news leaker) Moore’s Law Is Dead, Nvidia may be limiting its supply of RTX 4090 graphics cards in an attempt to boost the lackluster sales of its little brother, the RTX 4080.
Now, this obviously hasn’t been confirmed by Nvidia, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising. If true, it’s bad news for everyone involved: as we noted in our RTX 4080 review, it’s really not a great GPU once you consider the price tag. MLID concurred, describing it in a recent video as “the last card in the Lovelace lineup that anybody wants”.
RTX 4080 stock has done much better than the flagship GPU, with 4080 models available at various retailers at or slightly above retail price – something that certainly lends credence to MLID’s claims. Meanwhile, the RTX 4090 is still difficult to find at a reasonable price, and we can expect this to get even worse if the leaks are accurate.
The RTX 4090 is an absolute beast despite its high price, making it the de facto best GPU on the market right now for high-end workloads like 8K gaming and 3D rendering. More mainstream consumers might consider the 4080, but really would be better suited with the more sensibly-priced RTX 4070 Ti (or the incoming RTX 4070, which might arrive with multiple variants, though I hope it doesn’t).
Analysis: Nvidia should cut its losses and focus on supplying the cards people actually want
The thing is, if I was in the market for a new GPU, this news wouldn’t make me jump to buy an RTX 4080 instead. If anything, I’d probably jump ship entirely and buy the excellent AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX, which currently sits at the top of our best graphics cards leaderboard.
After the major fiasco surrounding the RTX 4080 reveal and the subsequent rebranding of the 12GB model into the RTX 4070 Ti, I’m concerned that Nvidia is burning consumer goodwill like firewood right now – especially given how hard the company is going on its ‘omniverse’ nonsense, something the average consumer won’t give two hoots about.
I’m sure Nvidia never intended to reveal that it was throttling RTX 4090 stock (if MLID’s three separate sources are to be believed), but it’s still a shady move. Why not accept that the 4080 wasn’t the product people wanted, and push forward with producing more 4090s and getting the budget-friendly RTX 4060 and 4050 to market?
It’s not exactly an uncommon strategy for any sort of tech manufacturer to limit the supply of a popular product in order to shift unsold units of a different but similar item, but it feels particularly disingenuous here. I can’t in good conscience recommend the RTX 4080 to anyone in a world where the 4090 and 4070 Ti (and heck, even the RTX 3090) exist. Nvidia, it might be time to let this one go.
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Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.
Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.